DOD Smart Scholarship 2023 is Now Open for Applications!

DOD Smart Scholarship

Applications are now open for the 2023 DOD Smart Scholarship! The Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship-for-Service Program is a combined educational and workforce development opportunity for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students funded by the Department of Defense (DoD).


 This SMART provides scholarships to undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students in one of the 21 STEM disciplines.


SMART scholars receive full tuition, annual stipends, internships, and job placement with the Department of Defense after graduation.


What is the DOD Smart Scholarship?


The Department of Defense (DOD) Smart Scholarship is a competitive program funded by the Military Child Education Coalition and administered by the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation.


The Department of Defense SMART Scholarship for Service Program is an opportunity for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to receive a full scholarship and be gainfully employed upon degree completion.


Each SMART Scholarship award includes an annual stipend of $25,000 to $38,000 depending on your level paid at a rate of $12,500 per semester, a summer professional internship opportunities. 


After completing your degree, you will be guaranteed employment with the Department of Defense.


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What are the Benefits of the DOD Smart Scholarship?


With the DOD Smart Scholarship, you can enhance your educational and professional opportunities while serving your country wholeheartedly!


Here are some of the benefits of the DOD Smart Scholarship:


  • A full scholarship, including tuition and fees, a living stipend, and health insurance.
  • Summer internships and employment upon graduation.
  • Career training with the Department of Defense (DOD).
  • An opportunity to learn new skills in STEM fields.
  • A chance to get ahead in your career and make lifelong connections.
  • The option to choose between an undergraduate or graduate program or even a certificate program.


Who is eligible to apply?


The SMART application is open from August to December each year, with awards given out the following spring. Examine the requirements listed below to ensure you are eligible to apply for this life-changing opportunity.


Every applicant must be:


  • At the time of application, you must be a citizen of the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom, 18 years old or older as of August 1, 2023, requesting at least one year of degree funding prior to graduation (which begins on the program start date), and able to complete at least one summer internship (multi-year scholars only)
  • Willing to accept post-graduation employment with the Department of Defense
  • A student in good standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale pursuing a technical undergraduate or graduate degree.
  • Capable of producing a fall 2022 college transcript from a regionally accredited US college or university OR currently pursuing a graduate degree at a regionally accredited US college or university
  • To be eligible for the SMART Scholarship, active-duty military members must be separated or on terminal leave on or before August 1, 2023.


Check Out: How to Write a Thank You Letter for a Scholarship: 10 Tips for Writing a Stand-Out Thank You Letter


STEM DOD Smart Scholarship Discipline


The program is focused on students pursuing professions that are vital to the Department of Defense’s national security functions (DoD). 


The following is a list of the 21 STEM disciplines that have been approved by SMART. 


These are general umbrella disciplines; specific applicant majors or fields of study may fall under one or more of these disciplines.


Please keep in mind that SMART does not approve or fund non-technical degrees such as management, arts, or humanities


  • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
  • Biosciences
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Cognitive, Neural, and Behavioral Sciences
  • Computer and Computational Sciences and Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Geosciences
  • Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Information Sciences
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Oceanography
  • Operations Research
  • Physics


How do I apply?


The SMART Scholarship-for-Service Program of the Department of Defense (DoD) is a combined educational and workforce development opportunity for STEM students.


The scholarship application procedure will remain unchanged. To begin your application, applicants must answer the screening questions. If you are eligible, you will receive an email with login information to begin your application.


Click Here to Get Started


The Smart Scholarship Worth and Benefits


The program focuses on students pursuing professions vital to the Department of Defense’s national security functions (DoD). 


Among the benefits are:


  • Tuition and educational expenses are paid in full (meal plans, housing, and parking not included)
  • Stipends range from $25,000 to $38,000 per year, depending on degree level (may be prorated depending on award length)
  • Internships in summer research ranging from 8 to 12 weeks
  • Allowance for health insurance of up to $1,200 per academic year
  • Up to $1,000 in miscellaneous allowance per academic year
  • An experienced mentor at one of the Sponsoring Facilities Employment placement at a DoD facility upon completion of the degree


When is the deadline?


The deadline for the 2023 DOD Smart Scholarship is December 2022. This scholarship offers up to $20,000 towards STEM education at an accredited institution of your choice. The applicant must be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States.


Other Important Things You need to know:


The scholarships are given for a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years, depending on the degree requirements. SMART is a one-for-one commitment; for every year of degree funding, the scholar agrees to work for the DoD as a civilian employee for a year.


For Undergraduate candidates


  • You must be a current student at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States.
  • At the end of the term, you must be able to provide a college transcript from the fall of 2022 (or earlier).
  • AP coursework is not considered college credit


For Graduate candidates


  • Can be enrolled in a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or awaiting admission notification.
  • If you are awaiting admission, you must be accepted for fall 2023 entry.


Tips for Winning the DOD Smart Scholarship 2023


Here are some tips for you to come out with flying colors in your application for the Smart scholarship: 


  • It’s never too early to start thinking about applying for scholarships.
  • The sooner you apply, the better!
  • Make sure you’re a competitive applicant.
  • Don’t forget to apply for other scholarships too.
  • If you’re interested in becoming a scholar, you’re going to want to be familiar with the different branches of the military.
  • Be sure to submit your application on time.
  • Keep a positive attitude during the application process. You’ll need it when you become a Smart Scholar!
  • Get personal with your letter of recommendation.
  • Go the extra mile with your research project.
  • Pick a major that will put you in a STEM field after graduation.




If you are a student, consider applying to the twenty-third installment of the Defense Department’s Smart Scholarship Program. 


This opportunity could change your life and set you up for success in the future with free education from some of the best schools in the country.


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